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Evaluating Odisha’s COVID-19 response: from quiet confidence to a slippery road

Niranjan Sahoo () and Manas Ranjan Kar
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Niranjan Sahoo: Observer Research Foundation
Manas Ranjan Kar: Government of Odisha

Journal of Social and Economic Development, 2021, vol. 23, issue 2, No 12, 373-387

Abstract: Abstract Odisha is among handful of states that is at the forefront of India’s fight against a rapidly growing COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the national lockdown was imposed by the Union government on March 24, Odisha was only state to have imposed partial lockdown in select districts. It was also first state that took proactive steps to ramp up its health care system particularly having a COVID-19 hospital with intensive care units (ICUs) on public–private partnership mode. Importantly, Odisha was among few states to have created a COVID-19 hospital at each district in record time. In addition, the state took many proactive measures including setting up a taskforce to oversee the COVID-19 response, put up a critical information and communication system with daily press briefings among others to stay on the top of pandemic management. But come May when the migrants rush unfolded, the state experienced steady surge in infections as the pandemic started spreading to relatively dense rural hinterlands. The migrant endowed districts like Ganjam became the epicentres of new spread and the state is struggling to rein on the growing pandemic. What led to the state losing its initial gains? How did the state manage it so ably in the initial period and what led to the surge? What are the unique features of Odisha’s pandemic response? Is there an Odisha Model as claimed by several observers? (Patnaik et al. in The Wire, 2020) This paper endeavours to chronicle Odisha’s response to COVID-19 in relations to policies and programmes initiatives and actors and dynamics shaping these responses? Key aim is to identify strengths and experience of the eastern state which has a long and credible record of fighting natural disasters.

Keywords: COVID-19; Disaster management; Decentralisation; Odisha; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s40847-020-00126-w

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